Kirkus Reviews QR Code
WHEN MAMA CAN'T SLEEP by Christa Kempter


by Christa Kempter & illustrated by Natascha Rosenberg

Age Range: 3 - 5

Pub Date: April 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7358-4015-7
Publisher: NorthSouth

This is a sweet bedtime number, with a very human, lightly delivered text and artwork that carries the reader away to a toasty, gladdening home. Mama can’t sleep. She shuffles into her pink bunny slippers and stares at Grandma’s birthday present, sitting there on the floor, neatly wrapped and “which she should have mailed yesterday.” Papa can’t sleep; he’s worried about the broken washing machine, which he goes to inspect. Teddy the teddy can’t sleep, because Max has rolled over on him, and Max can’t sleep “because the ghost behind the curtain is sighing,” and Sam the dog can’t sleep because of all the padding about. What’s to do but crawl into bed together (the ghost gets to hover nearby) and drift off, all wrapped in Papa’s embrace. The story is beautifully comforting in showing children that parents can be careworn without emotional trauma. Sure, everybody's got some problems, but they’ll wait. Putting an icing on the proceedings are the pastry-rich illustrations. Each two-page spread of heavy-gauge, high-gloss paper (extra-resistant to toddler drool) is a set piece, radiant with pigmentation and neat as a pin. And then there’s the parental bed, same as it ever was: Under those covers there is succor and surcease, your own little acre of milk and honey. (Picture book. 3-5)